January 18th, 2018

5 Degrees of Doom — The Danger of Over-Shooting the Berm

Gun Angle long range

In our Shooters’ Forum, there was an discussion about a range that was threatened with closure because rifle over-shoots were hitting a farm building over two miles from the firing line. One reader was skeptical of this, asking “how’s that possible — were these guys aiming at the stars?” Actually, you may be surprised. It doesn’t take much up-angle on a rifle to have a bullet land miles down-range. That’s why it’s so important that hunters and target shooters always orient their barrels in a safe direction (and angle). Shooters may not realize how much a small tilt of the barrel (above horizontal) can alter a bullet’s trajectory.

How many degrees of muzzle elevation do you think it would take to hit a barn at 3000 yards? Ten Degrees? Twenty Degrees? Actually the answer is much less — for a typical hunting cartridge, five to seven degrees of up-angle on the rifle is enough to create a trajectory that will have your bullet impacting at 3000 yards — that’s 1.7 miles away!

Gun Angle long range

Five degrees isn’t much at all. Look at the diagram above. The angle actually displayed for the up-tilted rifle is a true 5.07 degrees (above horizontal). Using JBM Ballistics, we calculated 5.07° as the angle that would produce a 3000-yard impact with a 185gr .30-caliber bullet launched at 2850 fps MV. That would be a moderate “book load” for a .300 Win Mag deer rifle.

Here’s how we derived the angle value. Using Litz-derived BCs for a 185gr Berger Hunting VLD launched at 2850 fps, the drop at 3000 yards is 304.1 MOA (Minutes of Angle), assuming a 100-yard zero. This was calculated using a G7 BC with the JBM Ballistics Program. There are 60 MOA for each 1 degree of Angle. Thus, 304.1 MOA equals 5.068 degrees. So, that means that if you tilt up your muzzle just slightly over five degrees, your 185gr bullet (2850 fps MV) will impact 3000 yards down-range.

Figuring Trajectories with Different Bullets and MVs
If the bullet travels slower, or if you shoot a bullet with a lower BC, the angle elevation required for a 3000-yard impact goes up, but the principle is the same. Let’s say you have a 168gr HPBT MatchKing launched at 2750 fps MV from a .308 Winchester. (That’s a typical tactical load.) With a 100-yard zero, the total drop is 440.1 MOA, or 7.335 degrees. That’s more up-tilt than our example above, but seven degrees is still not that much, when you consider how a rifle might be handled during a negligent discharge. Think about a hunter getting into position for a prone shot. If careless, he could easily touch off the trigger with a muzzle up-angle of 10 degrees or more. Even when shooting from the bench, there is the possibility of discharging a rifle before the gun is leveled, sending the shot over the berm and, potentially, thousands of yards down-range.

Hopefully this article has shown folks that a very small amount of barrel elevation can make a huge difference in your bullet’s trajectory, and where it eventually lands. Nobody wants to put holes in a distant neighbor’s house, or worse yet, have the shot cause injury. Let’s go back to our original example of a 185gr bullet with a MV of 2850 fps. According to JBM, this projectile will still be traveling 687 fps at 3000 yards, with 193.7 ft/lbs of retained energy at that distance. That’s more than enough energy to be deadly.

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January 18th, 2018

RCBS Has New Brass Work Station with Six Powered Toolheads

New RCBS cartridge brass chamfering deburring power tool head station Brass Boss six

RCBS has announced the successor to the venerable RCBS Trim Mate. The New-for-2018 RCBS Brass Boss features six rotating stations that handle all your brass neck-brushing, chamfering, deburring, and pocket uniforming chores. The new Brass Boss includes tools for all six stations: inside VLD chamfering tool, outside deburring tool, primer pocket cleaners (small/large), military crimp removers (small/large), primer pocket uniformers (small/large), case neck brushes (four diameters), and a tub of dry case neck lubricant. MSRP for the Brass Boss, RCBS SKU 90390, is $189.95. We expect “street price” to be around $155.00.

New RCBS cartridge brass chamfering deburring power tool head station Brass Boss sixThis machine has two different rotation speeds for the toolheads. Four stations run at 350 rpm, while the two other stations run 57% faster, at 550 rpm. That give you a choice of spin speeds. You can work fast for tougher chores like military crimp removal, and slow down for inside-neck chamfering, which should be done carefully.

Larger and taller than the older RCBS Trim Mate, the new Brass Boss has one more station (six vs. five), plus a more powerful motor. This should make the Brass Boxx more competitive with the popular Lyman Case Prep Express.

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January 18th, 2018

Williamsport Benchrest School 2018 Registration Opens

Williamsport 1000 yard Benchrest School
Sebastian Reist photo.

Williamsport benchrest schoolWant to learn long-range benchrest skills from the best in the business? Then head to Williamsport, PA this June. The registration period for the 2018 PA 1000 Yard Benchrest School is now open. This year’s session will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17, 2018, with a “Meet and Greet” on Friday Night. Classes, taught by top 1K shooters, are held at the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club Range, one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. The school will be limited to 25-30 students with one instructor for every two students.

CLICK HERE for 2018 Williamsport 1K Benchrest School Application
(MS Word Document)

Williamsport Shooting School Benchrest 1000 Yard

Praise from a 1K Benchrest School Grad
Here’s a testimonial from a recent graduate: “I can attest to the knowledge that you gain. I went last year and loved it. Have renewed my membership in the Club and would love to go this year. I would love to take the course again. In the photo above I am in the back row, fourth from the right — sunglasses and blue shirt.” — Bob, Class of 2016

Participants will learn all aspects of long-range benchrest shooting from some of the most skilled marksmen in the country. Much time is spent at the loading bench and on the firing line. Classes cover load development, precision reloading, bench skills, and target analysis. You don’t even need guns and ammo — all equipment and ammunition will be provided.

School instructors tell us: “This year’s benchrest school will be a 2-day weekend event. (There is also an optional ‘Meet and Greet’ gathering Friday evening). The school is a beginner class designed to teach the fundamental skills needed to be competitive at at 600 and 1000 yards. Saturday will be spent in class covering a range of topics including reloading ‘dos and don’ts’, load development and equipment handling. Sunday we will shoot an actual match to see what you’ve learned.”

Cost for the class is $425.00 including lunches on Sat/Sun and dinner on Saturday. Act soon if you want to attend the 2018 school — the school fills quickly. NOTE: To secure your placement, payment must be made in full prior to May 25th, 2018.

Watch Williamsport Benchrest School Slideshow:
Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

This slideshow was produced by Sebastian Reist an alumnus of the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school. SEE: www.sreistphotography.com.
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January 17th, 2018

Cartridge “Efficiency” — Factors to Consider from the USAMU

USAMU Handloading Guide Facebook cartridge efficiency

Efficient cartridges make excellent use of their available powder and case/bore capacity. They yield good ballistic performance with relatively little recoil and throat erosion.

USAMU Handloading Guide Facebook cartridge efficiency

Cartridge Efficiency: A Primer (pun intended!) by USAMU Staff

Each week, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) publishes a reloading article on its Facebook Page. In this week’s article, the USAMU discusses cartridge case efficiency and its benefits. While this is oriented primarily toward NRA High Power Rifle and Long Range (1000-yard) competition, these factors also apply to medium/big game hunters. Assuming one’s rifle and ammunition are accurate, key considerations include ballistic performance (i.e., resistance to wind effects, plus trajectory), recoil, and throat erosion/barrel life.

Efficient cartridges make excellent use of their available powder and case/bore capacity. They yield good ballistic performance with relatively little recoil and throat erosion. A classic example in the author’s experience involved a featherweight 7x57mm hunting/silhouette rifle. When loaded to modern-rifle pressures, just 43-44 grains of powder pushed a 139gr bullet at 2900 fps from its 22” barrel. Recoil in this light rifle was mild; it was very easy to shoot well, and its performance was superb.

An acquaintance chose a “do everything” 7mm Remington Magnum for use on medium game at short ranges. A larger, heavier rifle, it used ~65 grains of powder to achieve ~3200 fps with similar bullets — from its 26″ barrel. Recoil was higher, and he was sensitive to it, which hampered his shooting ability.

Similarly efficient calibers include the 6mm BR [Norma], and others. Today’s highly-efficient calibers, such as 6mm BR and a host of newer developments might use 28-30 grains of powder to launch a 105-107gr match bullet at speeds approaching the .243 Winchester. The .243 Win needs 40-45 grain charges at the same velocity.

Champion-level Long Range shooters need every ballistic edge feasible. They compete at a level where 1″ more or less drift in a wind change could make the difference between winning and losing. Shooters recognized this early on — the then-new .300 H&H Magnum quickly supplanted the .30-06 at the Wimbledon winner’s circle in the early days.

The .300 Winchester Magnum became popular, but its 190-220gr bullets had their work cut out for them once the 6.5-284 and its streamlined 140-142gr bullets arrived on the scene. The 6.5-284 gives superb accuracy and wind performance with about half the recoil of the big .30 magnums – albeit it is a known barrel-burner.

Currently, the 7mm Remington Short Action Ultra-Magnum (aka 7mm RSAUM), is giving stellar accuracy with cutting-edge, ~180 grain bullets, powder charges in the mid-50 grain range and velocities about 2800+ fps in long barrels. Beyond pure efficiency, the RSAUM’s modern, “short and fat” design helps ensure fine accuracy relative to older, longer cartridge designs of similar performance.

Recent design advances are yielding bullets with here-to-fore unheard-of ballistic efficiency; depending on the cartridge, they can make or break ones decision. Ballistic coefficients (“BC” — a numerical expression of a bullet’s ballistic efficiency) are soaring to new heights, and there are many exciting new avenues to explore.

The ideal choice [involves a careful] balancing act between bullet BCs, case capacity, velocity, barrel life, and recoil. But, as with new-car decisions, choosing can be half the fun!

Factors to Consider When Evaluating Cartridges
For competitive shooters… pristine accuracy and ballistic performance in the wind are critical. Flat trajectory benefits the hunter who may shoot at long, unknown distances (nowadays, range-finders help). However, this is of much less importance to competitors firing at known distances.

Recoil is an issue, particularly when one fires long strings during competition, and/or multiple strings in a day. Its effects are cumulative; cartridges with medium/heavy recoil can lead to shooter fatigue, disturbance of the shooting position and lower scores.

For hunters, who may only fire a few shots a year, recoil that does not induce flinching during sight-in, practice and hunting is a deciding factor. Depending on their game and ranges, etc., they may accept more recoil than the high-volume High Power or Long Range competitor.

Likewise, throat erosion/barrel life is important to competitive shooters, who fire thousands of rounds in practice and matches, vs. the medium/big game hunter. A cartridge that performs well ballistically with great accuracy, has long barrel life and low recoil is the competitive shooter’s ideal. For the hunter, other factors may weigh more heavily.

Cartridge Efficiency and Energy — Another Perspective
Lapua staffer Kevin Thomas explains that efficiency can be evaluated in terms of energy:

“Cartridge efficiency is pretty straight forward — energy in vs. energy out. Most modern single-based propellants run around 178-215 ft/lbs of energy per grain. These figures give the energy potential that you’re loading into the rifle. The resulting kinetic energy transferred to the bullet will give you the efficiency of the round. Most cases operate at around 20-25% efficiency. This is just another way to evaluate the potential of a given cartridge. There’s a big difference between this and simply looking at max velocities produced by various cartridges.”

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January 17th, 2018

Understanding Milliradians (Mils) and Mil-Dot Scopes

mildot ranging milliradian Milrad

We first ran this article in 2012, and it was very well received. Since then, many Forum members have requested an explanation of MILS and mildots, so we decided to run this feature again…

Mildot scope reticleIn this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term “MilliRadian” (Milrad) and explains how you can use a mildot-type scope to range the distance to your target. It’s pretty simple, once you understand the angular subtension for the reticle stadia dots/lines. Cleckner also explains how you can use the milrad-based reticle markings in your scope for elevation hold-overs and windage hold-offs.

Even if you normally shoot at known distances, the hold-off capability of milrad-reticle scopes can help you shoot more accurately in rapidly-changing wind conditions. And, when you must engage multiple targets quickly, you can use the reticle’s mil markings to move quickly from one target distance to another without having to spin your elevation turrets up and down.

WEB RESOURCES: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent Mil-dot.com User Guide. This covers the basics you need to know, with clear illustrations. Also informative is The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. Mr. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 1 radian = 2 PI; 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian; 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.

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January 17th, 2018

For Smoother Bullet Seating — Try Dry Lube Inside Case Necks

Forster original caseneck case neck brass dry mica lube lubricator system

If you want smoother bullet seating, inside neck lube can help. Forum member Ackleyman II likes to add a little Mica powder inside his case necks before seating bullets. This is easily done with the Forster three-brush neck lube kit. Ackleyman tells us: “Many loads that I have will not shoot well with a dry neck compared to a neck that is cleaned and lubed with this [Forster Dry Lubricator] — the best $15 you have ever spent.”

The Forster Case Neck Lubricator features three brushes attached to a tough, impact-resistant case with holes for bench mounting. The brushes accommodate all calibers from 22 to 35 caliber. The kit includes enough “motor mica” to process 2000 to 3000 cases and has a cover to keep dust and grit from contaminating the mica. By moving the case neck up and down on the correct mica-covered brush, the neck can be cleaned and lubricated at the same time.

Function: Lubricate case necks for easier resizing
Contents: Kit with base, lid, and three nylon brushes
Lubricant: Includes 1/10 oz. of Motor Mica, enough to process 2000-3000 cases

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »
January 16th, 2018

Savage New Products — Adjustable Stocks, More Chamberings

Savage Arms 2018 new products Accufit AccuStock rifle stock MSR 10 Long Range

Savage Arms will launch more than two dozen new products at the 2018 SHOT Show, January 23-26 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The big news is the AccuFit stock system for the Model 110 rifle line. “Our new AccuFit System is designed to allow shooters to quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull for a customized fit. This results in more consistent, more comfortable shooting”, says Beth Shimanski, Savage Senior Marketing Manager. These new Savages also feature the Accustock internal chassis with bedding block (see second video below).

AccuFit Adjustment System

Savage Arms 2018 new products Accufit AccuStock rifle stock MSR 10 Long Range

Accustock Embedded Chassis System

CLICK HERE for more videos showing new Savage Design and Engineering features.

More Chambering Options for Savage AR-Platform Rifles
Savage has added new chamberings for its MSR black rifle line-up. MSR 15 models will be newly offered in 224 Valkyrie, 22 Nosler, and 6.8 SPC. A 6mm Creedmoor version of the AR-10 platform MSR 10 Long Range has been added, and Savage will offer the hard-hitting .338 Federal chambering in the MSR Hunter rifle (along with 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win).

Savage 2018 New Product Highlights

Model 110 Storm with AccuFit: Features stainless steel action and barrel for adverse weather and conditions. Sixteen caliber and left-hand options.

Model 110 Long Range Hunter with AccuFit: Engineered for long-range shooting with a 26-inch barrel and muzzle brake. Nine caliber options, including 338 Lapua Magnum.

Model 110 Lightweight Storm: Easier to carry in field thanks to a lightweight stainless steel barrel and action. Length-of-pull is easily customized. Six caliber options.

AXIS II XP with New Stock: Popular package rifle with redesigned, ergonomic stock and Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 scope in full-size and compact models. Twenty caliber/configuration options.

MSR 15 Valkyrie: MSR 15 AR-type rifle chambered for the 224 Valkyrie. This new model features an adjustable gas block, furniture upgrades, and Elite Series Flat Dark Earth Cerakote finish.

MSR 15 Recon Long Range Precision: Equipped with alternate furniture options and chambered in all-new 224 Valkyrie, 22 Nosler, and 6.8 SPC.

MSR 10 Long Range in 6mm Creedmoor: AR-10 platform rifle design for long-range precision shooting. Chambered for the flat-shooting, modest-recoil 6mm Creedmoor cartridge.

MSR 10 Hunter in 338 Federal: Built specifically for hunters and chambered in the popular, hard-hitting .338 Federal.

B Series Compact and Left-hand: Extremely accurate bolt-action .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR options. Now available in compact and left-hand models.

A Series Pro Varmint: Semi-automatic options in .22 LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR, all with Boyd’s Pro Varmint stock and 22-inch fluted, heavy barrel.

All of these new rifles, as well as more bolt-action and semi-auto centerfire and rimfire rifles, will be on display at SHOT Show Booth No. 14551. Most will be set up so visitors can handle the rifle and work trigger and bolt. To learn more about the new Savage rifles and their features, visit www.SavageArms.com.

Savage MSR 10 Long Range (6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win)

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January 16th, 2018

Hold Your Targets with Low-Cost Commercial Sign Frames

Sign frame commercial real estate target holder

Need a portable, light-weight target stand? Here’s a clever, minimalist alternative to big, bulky wood-framed or PVC pipe target stands. Those big frames will work, but they take up lots of space in your vehicle and, unless you build a very solid base, they tend to rock back and forth, or even blow over in high winds. With a commercial sign frame (the kind used for real estate signs) you can easily mount cardboard shooting targets.

For under $20.00 you can get a metal sign frame that can be staked directly in the ground. These sign frames, commonly used for real estate signs, are secure in high winds, and they are just about ideal if you need a simple target for zeroing during a varmint hunt. With most of these frames you can secure a cardboard target backer with zip ties or threaded fasteners. With some frames you just slide the cardboard backer into slots, so no fasteners are required. The most common “Empire-style” sign frame has a rectangular section at the top with two pointed ends about 10″ apart at the bottom. Put your foot on the crossbar to drive the frame into the ground. An angle-iron, Empire-style frame (no fasteners required) is offered by the fastrealestatesigns.com for $19.99.

target frame

target frameInexpensive Reinforced-Plastic Sign Frames
Shown at right is a plastic sign frame that requires no fasteners. Simply cut your cardboard target backer to 24″ (w) x 18″ (h) and slide it in from the top. Then stick the frame into the ground using the foot-slot near the bottom. These fiberglass-reinforced plastic sign frames are light yet surprisingly strong. They are also very inexpensive. The sign-holder at right costs $11.95 from Yardsigns.org. There is also an open top model ($10.95). And for $25.70 your can even get FIVE larger 25″-wide polyethylene sign frames that have hammer posts and foot-push tabs. Available in black or white, these are shown below. Buy a set of five, keep a couple, and give the other three to your buddies.

Sign frame commercial real estate target holder

TIP: Sign Frames Are Not Ideal For All Terrain
If you shoot where the ground is very hard or rocky, these stake-in-the-ground frames may not work so well. They need to be seated firmly in the soil. But if you shoot in an area with soft soil or grassy turf, these frames can be a handy solution. Simple, light-weight and easy to set-up, they make a nice “field expedient” target holder.

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January 15th, 2018

Bargain Finder 121: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

Q: How Good Are These Deals?
A: The Savings Are Significant — Get Some Items at Half Price.
Here are two examples. Last week we featured a MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat at $29.99. The same mat is priced now at $59.99, DOUBLE our Deals price. Likewise, late last year we featured the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit for $224.99 after Rebate. That deal sold out and now you’d have to pay $297.69, nearly one-third more! We work hard to find these deals, with savings of 25-50%. Save hundreds of dollars on firearms and big-ticket items.

1. Sportsman’s Guide — Stevens 320 12 GA Shotgun, $179.99

Savage Stevens 320 security pump shotgun

Every ranch, farm, or household can use a defensive 12 Gauge shotgun. We like ghost ring sights on our self-defense scatterguns, and this Stevens 320 Security model has that feature. This shotgun is a steal — get one now for the amazingly low price of $179.99 ($170.99 Buyer’s Club price). You won’t find a quality, American-made, ghost-ring 12 gauge pump for less money. At this price you can afford to buy two or three. This Stevens 320 Security shotgun is made by Savage Arms.

2. Natchez — Up to 63% Off Popular Riflescopes

Natchez Optics clearance sale discounts

Natchez is slashing prices on many popular scopes, including the 46x48mm side-focus Weaver favored by many benchrest competitors. The savings are impressive. That 46X Weaver is marked down 63%, while the Weaver 6-24x42mm Classic is 60% off. If you need a fixed-power comp scope or a reliable medium-magnification zoom scope for a varmint rifle, check out these deals. You could pay twice as much and not get better optics. There are also big savings on Nikon and Leupold Scopes.

3. EuroOptic — Sako 85 $1098.00 ($900 Off)

Eurooptic.com Sako 85 Tikka 7mm-08

Sako 85 rifles enjoy a reputation for outstanding quality, reliability, and ergonomics. The Sako 85 is a top-tier rifle prized by hunters. Now you can get a handsome, wood-stocked Sako 85 for just $1098.00 — a huge $900.00 savings off the normal price. Chambered in 7mm-08, this “Bavarian” model features a traditional curved-comb stock with nice checkering on grip and fore-arm. This stock shape is quick to mount and works well from a variety of positions in the field. The Bavarian model also comes with back-up iron sights. This is a very nice hunting rig for fans of traditional wood stocks.

4. Natchez — Hornady Case Prep Trio, $79.99 + 100 Free Bullets

Hornady Case Prep Trio Get Loaded Free Bullets

Here’s a really good deal on a handy reloading product, the Case Prep Trio. This versatile device features three powered heads and ships with both Inside Chamferer and Outside Chamferer tools. You can add optional accessories such as large/small primer pocket cleaners, primer pocket reamer, case neck brushes, and other 8-32 threaded tools. This $79.99 deal at Natchez is the best price we’ve found (the unit normally sells for $102.00 or more). Plus, this qualifies Hornady’s Get Loaded Promo. But the Case Prep Trio and you get 100 FREE Hornady Bullets. If you figure those 100 bullets are worth thirty dollars or so, that brings your net cost for the Case Prep Trio to around fifty bucks. We have this tool and it definitively saves time and reduces hand fatigue. NOTE: Be sure you follow ALL the directions when submitting your FREE Bullets claim! You MUST submit a sales receipt. You MUST submit the package UPC. And you MUST submit a $6.95 check for shipping. If you don’t pay $6.95 for shipping you won’t get your bullets. Got that?

5. Sportsman’s Guide — Kahr CW9 Pistol, $249.99

Kahr CW9 carry pistol 9mm

This pistol is an excellent carry gun. It weighs just 15 ounces and is 5.9″ overall. The gun is thin and the controls are well recessed so this Kahr is great for discrete carry — it “prints” less than most of the other guns featured here. The striker-fired Kahr CW9 has a nice trigger pull. Take-up is pretty long, but the engagement is smooth without the hitches/spikes you feel on a Glock trigger pull. Many shooters find they can shoot the Kahr more accurately that a similar-sized Glock due to the smoother trigger. The Kahr CW9 is on sale now at Sportsman’s Guide for just $249.99, or $237.49 Member price. SPECS: DAO, 5.9″ OAL, 0.90″ width, 15 oz. weight.

6. MidwayUSA — Norma .22LR Match-22 Ammo 500 Rds $39.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

This Norma Match-22 ammunition is good stuff. In many rifles it shoots as well as $8/box products from other makers. But now you can get Match-22 for the equivalent of $4 per 50-ct box when you buy 500 rounds. MidwayUSA is selling a 500-round case of Norma Match-22 for just $39.99. That works out to just 8 cents per round. We think you’ll be happy with this ammo. It is a good choice for tactical cross-training and fun shooting.

7. Amazon — Jiallite Scope Bubble Level, $10.69

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This nicely designed Jiallite Scope Bubble Level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product: 89% of verified buyers rated this five stars.

8. B&H — Kowa TSN-501 20-40X Angled Spotting Scope, $299.00

B&H Kowa TSN 501 Compact spotting scope bargain 20-40X

You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Kowa TSN-501 Angled Spotting Scope is listed at $349.00 from B&H Photo. But, you can actually buy this Spotter for $299.00 — B&H just can’t advertise it that low. They list $349.00 but you get another $50 discount when you put it in the shopping cart: SEE REAL PRICE HERE. That’s a heck of a deal. This is a super-compact scope with 50mm objective and built-in 20-40X eyepiece. Though relatively new, the small, light-weight TSN-501 can perform basic spotting tasks effectively. This doesn’t have the resolution of the $1500+ spotters but this is fine for viewing mirage and shot markers. Put the money you save into barrels and bullets.

9. Bruno Shooters Supply — BAT Actions on Sale

BAT Actions on Sale

This week, Bruno Shooters Supply is offering significant discounts on In-Stock BAT Machine Actions. Dozens of actions are available right now — no waiting. NOTE: All listed BAT action prices are for check or money order purchase. BAT actions put on a credit card will incur an additional 4% service fee. Additional $40.00 for shipping per action, which can only be shipped to a FFL dealer.

10. Amazon — Top-Rated 43-lb Magnetic Gun Mount, $14.95

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

This heavy-duty Stamaks Magnet is rated to support a full 43 pounds. That means it can actually hold a shotgun or rifle on a gun cabinet door. For the typical handgun installation, it’s even more secure. An “Amazon Choice”, this magnet has earn 98% Five-Star reviews from customers who say the magnets are powerful and the rubber case is very durable. The magnet installs with four screws. Actual review: “Really good quality! Magnet is an extremely durable and strong. Easy to install, highly recommended.” Very slim, this is a good choice for stowing a handgun in a vehicle interior or under a countertop. NOTE: Before placing in a vehicle, review your state’s laws regarding gun transport. The manufacturer states: “Stamaks Gun Magnet will easily hold an object weighing up to 43 lbs of pulling force.”

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January 15th, 2018

Primer Pocket and Flash Hole Uniforming Basics

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post explains how to uniform primer pockets and remove burrs in flash holes. These brass prep operations can help ensure greater consistency, shot after shot. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

Primer Pocket and Flash-Hole Conditioning

This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?”

As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “occasionally!” Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. That’s not to say we’re against it — rather, it reflects the very high volume of ammunition loaded, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes (of which, more later.)

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56x45mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked in per their usual practice. Obviously, we could not uniform either FHs or PPs on this live-primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it. Regular readers have seen photos of some of the tiny 1000-yard test groups we’ve fired with weight-selected domestic brass which had neither Primer Pockets uniformed nor flash holes deburred.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket
Figure 1 shows a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. In Figure 2, the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish — evidence of the metal removed to uniform and square the primer pocket.

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Unlike us, they will be using their cases many times, while the operations are only needed once. Also, most handloaders only process a relatively moderate amount of brass compared to our 20-thousand round lots. Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers form their flash holes so that no burrs are created.

Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of these makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer, and were startled to find that every case had a burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tool and went to work.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops. Pay attention to the instructions. Some flash hole deburring tools which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket, depend on uniform case length for best results.

Does It Really Make a Difference?
It can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures, particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass.

One could ascribe this to the old High Power Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps”. Another thought is to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for accuracy.

However, an extremely talented World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FH’s, deburr FH’s and clean primer pockets before each reloading; however, with the wisdom of decades’ experience, he also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 15th, 2018

Guntry Clubs — Posh, Upscale Facilities for Gun Aficionados

Guntry Club Greshame GunVenture Televison Iain Harrison Sig Sauer

Shooting ranges have gone upscale with the development of the “Guntry Club”. This new kind of recreational/social facility combines a shooting range with Country Club style amenities. Imagine a high-tech indoor range with “Pro Shop”, restaurant, and maybe outdoor shooting facilities as well. In the past five years, more and more of these deluxe “Guntry Clubs” have opened nationwide.

This week GunVenture TV takes a look at some of the country’s finest gun clubs. First, join Tom Gresham and RECOIL Magazine’s Iain Harrison at one of the original “Guntry Clubs” — the Scottsdale Gun Club. You’ll tour the exclusive Titanium lounge before heading to the range for some full-auto fun with Sig Sauer’s John Hollister. Then, Tom visits a very high-end facility in Centennial, Colorado. The upscale Centennial Gun Club features a retail store, range, training center, and lounge.

Guntry Club Greshame GunVenture Televison Iain Harrison Sig Sauer

Finally, GunVenture visits the Talladega Super-Speedway, where Ryan Gresham takes a lap on the famous track before visiting at the CMP’s impressive new Talladega Marksmanship Park, which boasts state-of-the-art electronic targets.

Here’s a CBS News report on upscale “Guntry Clubs”, luxurious facilities that target younger, more affluent patrons. Chip Reid reports on a high-end gun club in Manassas, Virginia: “This is not your Grandfather’s shooting range. Elite Shooting Sports is 65000 Square feet of bright lights, polished wood, flat-screen TVs, and state of the art equipment”.

Permalink News, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
January 14th, 2018

Sierra’s New 95gr .224 SMK and other Ultra-High-BC MatchKings

New Sierra MatchKing Bullets 6mm 6.5mm 7mm 30 caliber 224 22

New Sierra MatchKing Bullets 6mm 6.5mm 7mm 30 caliber 224 22Looking for the highest ballistic performance for your benchrest, F-Class, or tactical rifle? Sierra now offers a wide selection of ultra-high-BC bullets in a wide range of popular calibers.

New Heavy .224 SMK – We just learned that Sierra will release a new-for-2018 95-grain MatchKing. This new .224 projectile, Sierra product #1396, has a claimed G1 BC of 0.600 — mighty impressive for a .22-caliber bullet. There are also two new .308-caliber MatchKings, a 200-grainer with 0.715 G1 BC, and a new 230-grainer with a stunning 0.800 G1 BC.

More High-BC MatchKings in All Your Favorite Calibers
Sierra previously released four other very slippery, heavy-for-caliber MatchKings that have raised the BC Bar for their respective calibers. For example, the 150gr 6.5mm bullet really “pushes the envelope”. In past years, 140-142 grains was considered “high end” for a 6.5mm match projectile. Here are Sierra’s BC Leaders for 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, and .308 calibers. Many of these New Generation MatchKings now come “tipped” from the factory for more uniform BC.

Heavy-for-Caliber, Ultra-High BC Sierra MatchKings

6mm (.243 Caliber)
110 grain MatchKing #1575
0.617 G1 BC

7mm (.284 Caliber)
197 grain MatchKing #1997
0.780 G1 BC

6.5 mm (.264 Caliber)
150 grain MatchKing #1755
0.713 G1 BC

7.62mm (.308 Caliber) NEW
230 grain MatchKing #2251
0.800 G1 BC

SPY PHOTO Reveals New High-BC Sierra MatchKings
One of our Forum members captured a spy photo with all the new-generation High-BC Sierra MatchKings in a line-up. This includes the new 95gr .224 SMK right at the top. The new 200gr and 230gr 30-cal SMKs are near the bottom. NOTE: Sierra already had a 30-Cal 200 grainer, #2230, in its line-up. This is a NEW 200 grain MatchKing, #2231, with a much higher BC — 0.715 vs. 0.565 for the older 200gr bullet. That’s a huge difference in BC, a 26% improvement.

New Sierra MatchKing Bullets 6mm 6.5mm 7mm 30 caliber 224 22

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
January 14th, 2018

Cheap Tricks — Ten Handy Budget Items For Hand-Loaders

Budget reloading items

Useful reloading gear does not have to be costly. Here are ten handy (and very inexpensive) items that belong on your loading bench or in your range kit.

magnifying glassMagnifying Glass – We use a flat, 2″x2″ pocket 4x-8x magnifier. This folds up on itself. Very handy, we use it to inspect bullets and brass. Use this to check your flash holes for burrs, and check the meplats of your bullets before loading.

Clear 35mm Film Cannister – Use this to transfer the thrown powder charge to the little measuring cup that sits on your scale. That way you don’t get any kernel splash. Also if the charge weight is obviously off, it’s easy to dump back in the measure. A film canister works pretty well as a trickler too.

Compressed Air in a Can -- Get these at office supply stores. Use the can (with tube attached) to blow crud out of cases after cleaning the neck with a brush, and blast loose debris out of primer pockets.

Pin Vise – A simple $7.00 pin vise with a #53 bit is perfect for deburring Lapua PPC and BR flash holes without reaming the flash-holes any larger. The Lapua PPC/BR flash-hole diameter is 1.5 mm, or 0.059″. eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm pin vise bit. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores.

Bounce Dryer Sheets – The common dryer sheets eliminate “static cling” on your plastic reloading parts such as powder measure cylinders, powder funnels, and reloading press plastic bins. Thanks to Doc76251 for this tip.

BallistolBallistol Aerosol – Try using this versatile lubricant/solvent for full-length sizing. Spray some on a patch and you can wipe the carbon of your case necks. Then, continue to apply a very small amount of Ballistol on the case bodies — just thin sheen is all you need. Ballistol is super slippery, and easy to remove. For general full-length sizing (on small cases) it works great and doesn’t leave a gooey, waxy, or chalky residue. For heavier case-forming jobs, we recommend Imperial Die Wax.

Shotgun Mop – Stick this in the chamber when using Wipe-Out foaming bore cleaner. This will seal off the chamber so the foam doesn’t flow into your action. For long chambers screw on one section of cleaning rod to aid extraction.

Colored Sharpie Marking Pens – Mark your bullets ahead of the bearing surface, and the color transfers to the target. This way you can shoot multiple loads at the same point of aim and discern which load shoots the tightest. (Recommended for 300 yards and beyond). With colored bullet tips you can test multiple loads “round robin” to equalize wind effects. When testing seating depths for example, you can mark the longer-seated set of bullets red and the shorter-seated set green and shoot them during the same sequence. Just look at the colored marks on the target to see which grouped better.

Sharpies Pens

Thin Latex Gloves – You should keep a box of inexpensive, disposable latex gloves (the kind doctors use) in your loading room. These will prevent contamination of primers or powder kernels that you handle directly. Also, use the gloves when handling fine blued tools or firearms to prevent transfering body oils and salts that promote rust.

Plastic Washers for Neck Mic – If you use a Sinclair Neck-wall Micrometer Gauge with integral stand, you can use thin plastic washers to adjust the height of the case on the mandrel. This makes it much easier to measure the same point on the case neck every time. Thanks to MikeCR for this tip (and photo).

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip Post comment »
January 13th, 2018

Bunny-Busting with Savage A17 in 17 HMR

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

There’s a nice article in the Western Powders Blog that any varminter will enjoy. In this hare-raising tale, gunwriter Jim Waddell explains how he used a self-loading Savage A17 rifle to take care of a serious jack-rabbit problem on a rancho in California. “[My friends] purchased a huge amount of acreage that had some existing alfalfa fields and [surrounding sagebrush]. Sagebrush is home to jack rabbits. Lots of jack rabbits. The previous owner of this property didn’t do any varmint or predator control[.] The ink wasn’t dry on the escrow papers before [my friends] started asking for help shooting rabbits. A problem in taking these critters is it has to be done at night when they come out to feed as they lay low in the bush during the daylight hours.”

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Savage A17 Comes to the Rescue
Initially Waddell and some friends took on the jack-rabbit hordes using Ruger 10/22s and a .44 Magnum Marlin lever gun. Neither option was ideal. The .44 Magnum just couldn’t keep up the desired shooting pace (it took too long to reload) ant the .22 LRs were too anemic. So Waddell decided to give the more potent 17 HMR a try. He acquired a Savage A17 and went back for a second bunny-busting session. He came away convinced that the 17 HMR cartridge in the modern semi-auto Savage works great for small varmint control.

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Waddell writes: “I wanted more than a .22 after seeing the problems my pals had with their [10/22] bullets not anchoring the rabbits. Armed with my new Savage A17 it was time to head back to the alfalfa fields. This time my hunting partner was Dan, my son-in-law from Seattle. We hunted for four nights. Each night was either raining, windy or both. My question about whether or not rabbits would be out in the weather was answered immediately. They were everywhere. As miserable as the weather was, we got all the shooting we wanted and that Savage rifle was up to the task. We got so many rabbits it was impossible to count.” CLICK HERE for the full account of Waddell’s jack-rabbit adventures on the California rancho. It’s worth a read. Here is a sample:

Wabbits, Wabbits Everywhere — Even Running Right at You
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a sea of rabbits as far as the lights would shine and when the light beams hit the bunnies, they became confused and as often as not, would run right at the lights so a good percentage of our shots were literally in spitting distance. It was also a new experience shooting at targets that are running TOWARD you. Most of us who’ve done much hunting for game or varmints have experienced moving targets but how many of those targets are coming at you?

Read Full Story on Western Powders Blog »

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
January 13th, 2018

FIX-IT: How to Remove a Cartridge Case Stuck in a Die

stuck72

Western powders, ramshot, norma, accurate

To err is human… Sooner or later you’ll probably get a case stuck in a die. This “fix-it” article, which originally appeared in the Western Powders Blog, explains the procedure for removing a firmly stuck cartridge case using an RCBS kit. This isn’t rocket science, but you do want to follow the directions carefully, step-by-step. Visit the Western Powders Blog for other helpful Tech Tips.

Curing the Stuck Case Blues

decapstem72Sticking a case in the sizer die is a rite of passage for the beginning handloader. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s great, but it probably will eventually happen. When it does, fixing the problem requires a bit of ingenuity or a nice little kit like the one we got from RCBS.

The first step is to clear the de-capping pin from the flash hole. Just unscrew the de-capping assembly to move it as far as possible from the primer pocket and flash hole (photo at right). Don’t try to pull it all the way out. It won’t come. Just unscrew it and open as much space as possible inside the case.

Place the die upside down in the padded jaws of a vise and clamp it firmly into place. Using the supplied #7 bit, drill through the primer pocket. Be careful not to go too deeply inside the cartridge once the hole has opened up. It is important to be aware that the de-capping pin and expander ball are still in there and can be damaged by the bit.

Drill and Tap the Stuck Case
taping72drilling72

Once the cartridge head has been drilled, a ¼ – 20 is tap is used to cut threads into the pocket. Brass is relatively soft compared to a hardened tap, so no lube is needed for the tapping process. RCBS says that a drill can be used for this step, but it seems like a bit of overkill in a project of this nature. A wrench (photo above right) makes short work of the project.

RCBS supplies a part they call the “Stuck Case Remover Body” for the next step. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have the bit and tap, this piece is easily replicated by a length of electrical conduit of the proper diameter and some washers. In either case, this tool provides a standoff for the screw that will do the actual pulling.

pulling72fingers72

With an Allen Wrench, Finish the Job
Run the screw through the standoff and into the tapped case head. With a wrench, tighten the screw which hopefully pulls the case free. Once the case is free, clamp the case in a vice and pull it free of the de-capping pin. There is tension here because the sizing ball is oversized to the neck dimension as part of the sizing process. It doesn’t take much force, but be aware there is still this last little hurdle to clear before you get back to loading. Don’t feel bad, everyone does this. Just use more lube next time!

wholekit72unstuck72

Article find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
January 13th, 2018

Doug Koenig Leaves Smith & Wesson To Be Team Ruger Captain

Doug Koenig Bianchi Cup Smith and Wesson Ruger 2018
Doug Koenig will exchange the Smith & Wesson hat for one with the Ruger logo this season. The 18-time Bianchi Cup Winner has joined Team Ruger, and will shoot Ruger pistols and rifles in 2018.

Doug Koenig, one of the greatest pistol shooters of all time, has a new team. The long-time Team Smith & Wesson stalwart has joined newly-formed Team Ruger as its Team Captain. Doug will shoot Ruger 1911-style handguns and Ruger polymer pistols. Interestingly, Koenig will also field a Ruger Precision Rifle for some PRS-style events. Doug has actually done pretty well in the past shooting long guns. He won the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship — a multi-day event featuring rifles and/or shotguns in most of the stages.

This is the first time Ruger has ever fielded a full-fledged pro team. It is an interesting development for Ruger, which has a product mix suitable for a variety of disciplines: Rimfire Challenge, Cowboy Action, IDPA/USPSA, Steel Challenge, and even PRS (Factory Class and Gas Gun Division).

Doug Koenig Bianchi Cup Smith and Wesson Ruger 2018

Why is Koenig leaving Smith and Wesson? It’s mostly about being “on the same page”. Talking to Jim Shepherd of the Shooting Wire, Doug explained: “I’ve been with Smith & Wesson for a very long time — and I want to be really clear about this – they’ve always been good to me.” But, there had been changes at S&W in recent years: “We were going in different directions, and I’d already told them I wasn’t re-signing this year. And when I was approached by Ruger, they were interested in my thoughts on guns.” Read Shooting Wire Report.

Though best known as a pistolero, Koenig is a great long gun shooter as well. Doug won the 2016 NRA World Shooting Championship, beating a field of talented 3-Gun aces. Photo DougKoenig.com.
Doug Koenig Bianchi Cup Smith and Wesson Ruger 2018

Doug was impressed with Ruger’s design staff. He said they have already incorporated upgrades he wanted: “When I talked with Ruger engineers, they asked me what I thought — instead of telling me what they were going to do. So, I told them what I would like to see in a Ruger competition pistol, and it seemed like they were really listening.” In fact, Ruger immediately made upgrades: “A few days after Christmas I got a pair of Ruger pistols with the exact changes I’d talked about already done to them. That is exciting”.

Doug Koenig’s List of Championships:
10-time World Champion
18-time Bianchi Cup winner
2016 NRA World Shooting Champion
More than 70 National Championships
6-time World Action Pistol Championship Winner
3-time World Speed Shooting Champion/Steel Challenge

Watch Doug Koenig’s Championship Season TV show on the Pursuit Channel: Wednesday 5:30 pm (Eastern); Friday 9:00 pm (Eastern); Saturday 1:30 am (Eastern) West Coast prime-time.

Permalink Competition, Handguns, News 5 Comments »
January 12th, 2018

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip Post comment »
January 12th, 2018

Father of all ARs — The Original Full-Auto AR-10

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

Today, AR-platform rifles are hugely popular. Dozens of manufacturers sell AR-type rifles, in a wide variety of configurations and calibers. But before there were M16s and AR-15s, ArmaLite produced a 7.62×51 caliber rifle, the AR-10. Yes before there were millions of 5.56 black rifles, there was a .30-caliber big brother with reddish-brown furniture. Invented by Eugene (‘Gene’) Stoner for the Armalite company in the late 1950s, this is the father of all of today’s AR-platform rifles. Way ahead of its time, this remarkable, select-fire battle rifle weighed just 7.25 pounds as first developed.

If you’re curious about the AR-10, in this video, Jerry Miculek puts an original 1957-vintage AR-10 through its paces on the range. This extremely rare, early-production rifle was provided by Mr. Reed Knight and the Institute of Military Technology. (The gun in the video was actually produced in the Netherlands under license, see video at 4:40.) This AR-10 is the direct ancestor of the AR-15, M16, and many of the modern sporting rifles that we use today.

The AR-10 was slim and light, weighing in at around 7 pounds. Some folks might argue that the original “old-school” AR10 is actually better that some of today’s heavy, gadget-laden ARs. The AR-10’s charging “lever” was under the carry handle — that made it easier to manipulate with the gun raised in a firing position.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

You’ll notice there is no “forward assist”. Inventor Gene Stoner did not believe a separate “bolt-pusher” was necessary. The forward assist was added to solve problems encountered in Viet Nam. Some critics say the forward assist “only takes a small problem and makes it a big problem.” For today’s competition ARs (that are never dragged through the mud) the forward assist probably is superfluous. It is rarely if ever needed.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

Note also that the handguards are fairly slim and tapered. Today, six decades after the first AR-10 prototypes, we are now seeing these kind of slim handguards (made from aluminum or lightweight composites) used on “full race” ARs campaigned in 3-gun competition.

History of the AR-10
The AR-10 is a 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. When first introduced in 1956, the AR-10 used an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design with phenolic composite and forged alloy parts resulting in a small arm significantly easier to control in automatic fire and over one pound lighter than other infantry rifles of the day. Over its production life, the original AR-10 was built in relatively small numbers, with fewer than 9,900 rifles assembled.

In 1957, the basic AR-10 design was substantially modified by ArmaLite to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge, and given the designation AR-15. ArmaLite licensed the AR-10 and AR-15 designs to Colt Firearms. The AR-15 eventually became the M16 rifle.

AR-10 photos from Arms Izarra, a Spanish company specializing in de-militarized, collectible firearms. Interestingly, this particular AR-10 was produced in the Netherlands under license.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos 6 Comments »
January 12th, 2018

New Anti-Corrosion and Bore-Cleaning Products from Otis

Otis Gun Care Bore Stick Metal Defense Bore Cleaning Foam SHOT Show

Otis will introduce a number of new products at SHOT Show 2018. We were impressed by two new products, one that cleans bores, and a second that promises to protect the inside of your barrel from corrosion. As to the latter, we’re always looking for better ways to prevent the formation of rust in barrels during long term storage. You can certainly coat the bore using patches soaked with Eezox, Corrosion-X, or other good anti-corrosion product. But is there something that could work even better?

New Otis Metal Defense Bore Stick
Otis came up with a new idea that may hold promise. The new Otis Metal Defense Bore Stick™ is placed inside your barrel during storage. Perhaps better named the “Bore Cord”, this product has a long orange “tail” that runs down inside the barrel. The cord’s fibers release VCI, a very effective corrosion inhibitor. The top end has an orange rubber handle with a conical plug. That plug goes in the muzzle to block moisture and retain the rust-fighting VCI vapors. Available for rifles, shotguns, and pistols, Otis says this product “protects firearms from rust and corrosion for up to two years. It is inserted in the barrel of the gun, features a plug to cap the muzzle, and creates a protective barrier on the metal surface.” Single packs cost $4.99 and two-packs are $6.99.

Otis Gun Care Bore Stick Metal Defense Bore Cleaning Foam SHOT ShowNew Foaming Bore Cleaner from Otis
Count us as Foam Fans. We have used Wipe-Out Foam Bore Cleaner on our own match rifles for years. Over that time, Wipe-Out has worked very well, greatly reducing the amount of brushing required. Chemist Terry Paul, inventor of Wipe-Out, created a great product that really works. Our procedure with Wipe-Out is to first patch out the barrel with 3-4 wet patches soaked with Carb-Out or other solvent. Then we apply Wipe-Out once to the bore (with an O-ring boreguide sealing off the chamber). We wait 20-30 minutes, then apply Wipe-out foam a second time. After 3-4 hours we patch out the bore, and normally the rifle is good to go. For long-term storage we may run an oil patch down the bore as a final step.

Otis now has its own proprietary Foaming Bore Cleaner. The expanding foam is formulated to clean the bore of any rifle, pistol, or shotgun. Available in a 3 ounce aerosol can, it retails for $9.99. The can ships with a handy tube for application, with a push-button control on top. We look forward to trying the Otis foam cleaner to see how it stacks up to Wipe-Out.

The above video shows how to apply Wipe-Out or other bore-cleaning foam. We use a slightly different method. First, we use 3-4 wet patches to remove loose carbon fouling. Then we apply the foam as shown, but usually from the muzzle end (with bore guide in chamber). Here’s the important point — after 20-30 minutes, once the bubbles have dissipated, we apply the foam a second time, getting more of the active ingredients into the barrel. We then patch out, as shown, after 3-4 hours.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product Post comment »
January 11th, 2018

Heavy Metal — New Cast-Iron Presses from Lyman for 2018

Lyman Cast Iron 0-Ring Victory Press single-stage All-American Turret 8-stage

Lyman is introducing three new Brass Smith series reloading presses for 2018. Here we focus on the two full-size Brass Smith presses, the O-Frame Victory Single Stage and the new 8-Station All-American Turret Press. Both these sturdy presses feature an innovative “straight line” priming system with shielded primer tube.

New Cast-Iron Victory O-Frame Single-Stage Press

Lyman’s new Victory™ Press is built on a heavy duty cast iron “O” frame with 1-inch diameter ram and compound linkage. It looks strong and Lyman claims the “Victory Press is one of the most rugged and rigid available on the market.” The Victory Press features a simple, reliable straight-line primer feed. It’s easy to prime a case — simply push the priming arm forward to position a primer beneath the shell holder. As an added safety feature, the primer feed comes with a heavy steel shield surrounding the primer tube. The large 5-inch frame opening can take long magnum cases. MSRP is $199.45. We expect initial “street price” to be around $160.00, less expensive than an RCBS RockChucker, but more pricey than a Lee Classic Cast Press.

Lyman Cast Iron 0-Ring Victory Press single-stage All-American Turret 8-stage

“It has been a while since Lyman Products introduced new presses, for the very simple reason that our presses are built to be so durable that they actually end up being handed down in families”, explained Trevor Mullen, Lyman’s VP of Marketing and Business Development. “But for 2018, we decided we needed to add certain features that make these new presses even better than their former models.”

New Cast-Iron 8-Station All-American Turret Press

Along with its new Victory Single-Stage Press, Lyman is releasing a beefy All-American Turret Press with eight (8) stations. That’s one more than the Redding T-7 Turret Press, and two more stations than the six-station RCBS Turret Press. With the Lyman’s EIGHT stations you can hold sizing AND seating dies for four different rifle cartridges. Or, if you seat bullets with an arbor press, you could have sizers for six cartridges, plus a dedicated decapping die and a factory crimp die. With eight stations available — there are countless options.

Lyman Cast Iron 0-Ring Victory Press single-stage All-American Turret 8-stage

Rigidity is very important with a turret press — if you have too much “give” of flex with the turret head you may get inconsistent results when bumping shoulders using full-length dies. With a heavy cast-iron frame and turret head, Lyman says its new Turret Press is “the most rugged” on the market. We like the front-mount priming system which can easily be operated with your free hand, whether you mount the press arm on the left or the right. MSRP is $249.95. We expect “street price” to be around $220.00, quite a bit less than the six-station RCBS Turret Press.

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